Displaying items by tag: fish and seafood

Growing up, kale was about the only local green available in winter. Even though there is much more to be had today, kale still holds a place of honour. Scottish bacon is meatier and smokier than our Canadian version; I find thick-cut double smoked is a good substitute.Servings: 4


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 40 minutes



2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces (100 grams) double smoked bacon, diced (about three-quarters of a cup)

2 cups sliced leek (white and light green part only)

3 cups diced fennel

1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

4 cups fish or chicken stock or water

1½ pounds (750 grams) mussels, rinsed

2 cups thinly sliced kale leaves



Heat oil in soup pot on medium heat. Add bacon and sauté for 4 minutes or until slightly crisped. Add leeks and fennel and sauté for 4 minutes or until softened. Add cherry tomatoes and continue to sauté until they soften, about 2 minutes longer.

Add stock and bring to boil, simmer 5 minutes. Raise heat and add mussels and kale, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mussels have opened.

Ladle into 4 bowls and serve with baguette.


Wine Pairings

The ghost of Scotland's national poet will haunt a man for not suggesting "Scotch drink" with this hearty spread. And whisky – ideally with a splash of water or two ice cubes – would not be out of place. The malty richness, fruity overtones and smoky aroma of a lightly peated Scotch touch all bases for a home run. But if strong spirit seems too jarring, consider a malty Scottish brew, such as the excellent, moderately bitter Caledonia 80 or an oak-aged bottling from Innis & Gunn. Prefer wine? On the white side, an oaked chardonnay works. Red-wise, consider a syrah-based cuvee from southern France. Beppi Crosariol

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Heston Blumenthal at Home is a cookbook for foodies, yet the mouthwatering recipes are well-chosen and not as daunting as you might think. This sea bass with vanilla butter is one of the easiest but delivers unbelievable flavour.

The fish fillets are so thin that they cook very quickly. If you have a digital timer with an alarm, I recommend that you use it to ensure they don’t overcook.

The vanilla butter is excellent with grilled or fried fish. Don’t discard the vanilla pods after adding the seeds to the burner – you can use them as a flavouring for sugar or oil.

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 1 hour (for butter)

Cooking Time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

Ready In: 1 hour, 3 minutes


Sea bass fillets

Groundnut (peanut) or grapeseed oil

4 Mediterranean sea bass fillets, skin on



Vanilla butter

3 vanilla pods

125 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature


To make vanilla butter, halve the vanilla pods lengthways and, using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds.

Mix the butter with the vanilla seeds, using a hand blender.

Roll into a log and wrap in parchment paper or place in a bowl. Keep in the fridge until required (for up to a week), or freeze for a month.


To make the fish, cover the bottom of a frying pan with a thin layer of oil, and heat over a high heat until extremely hot.

Season both sides of fish with salt and place skin-side down in the hot pan to crisp for 90 seconds. Place a lightweight object such as a ramekin on top of the fish to keep it from curling as it cooks. Flip the fish over for a further 60 seconds and remove the fillets from the pan straight onto the serving plates.

Place 10 g (1 tbsp) of vanilla butter on top of each fillet. As the butter melts, spoon it over the fillets to coat.

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With a nod to Creole flavourings, this stuffing is superb with the capon. It should be cooked alongside the bird, rather than stuffed inside. I buy the cornbread already made.


We used between a ⅓ and ½ cup of oyster liquor from the shucked oysters to moisten the stuffing but you can also use clam juice, fish or chicken stock.


4 slices bacon, chopped (4 ounces, 100 grams)

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup red pepper, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ teaspoon cayenne or to taste

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

6 cups crumbled cornbread

18 oysters with their liquor, shucked liquor


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Fry bacon, over medium low heat in skillet for 4 minutes or until beginning to crisp. Add onion, pepper and celery and sauté gently until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and seasonings, cook 30 seconds longer to combine flavours. Remove from heat and add to cornbread. Stir in reserved bacon, oysters and enough oyster liquor, or clam juice, to moisten stuffing. Place in buttered gratin dish, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes longer or until stuffing is slightly browned and oysters are cooked through.

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I have a field of chervil in my garden – nothing seems to defeat it so I use it a lot. It has a slightly licorice fresh flavour, which gives the shrimp a lovely tang. If none is available, substitute with tarragon. If you want to use this as a main course double it and serve with sautéed kale.


Servings: 4

Ready In: 20 minutes


1 cup packed watercress sprigs

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

¼ cup chervil, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup Parmesan, grated

½ cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 pound (500 grams) extra large shrimp (16 to 20)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat oven to 450 F.

Combine watercress, parsley, chervil, garlic, lemon rind, 2 tablespoons olive oil and Parmesan in a food processor or by hand. Keep the mixture chunky. Combine with the breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Season shrimps with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Sauté for 1 minute, turning once, or until shrimp are just beginning to turn pink. Sprinkle in lemon juice and top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 5 minutes or until crumbs are golden and shrimp are cooked through.

Serve immediately from the skillet.

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Cut the chorizo, chicken and shrimp into about ½-inch or smaller pieces for this simplified version of paella. The taste is much more compact, as you get a piece of each ingredient in every bite. It also cuts down on the cooking time.

Servings: 4

Ready In: 55 minutes



½ teaspoon saffron

2¼ cups warm chicken stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 chorizo sausage, chopped (about ¾ cup)

7 ounces (200 grams) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped canned or fresh tomatoes

½ teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika

¾ cup Spanish medium-grain rice or Italian Arborio

1 cup chopped raw shrimp

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper



4 6-ounce (175 g) halibut fillets

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon mild smoked Spanish paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to 450 F.

Crumble saffron into warm chicken stock and set aside to soften.

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chorizo and chicken and fry for 2 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Add garlic, onions, tomatoes and paprika. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened and juices are thick.

Stir in rice and add 2 cups of saffron stock. Bring to boil again. Reduce heat to low and let liquid simmer gently until rice is nearly cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in shrimp and extra stock if the rice seems too dry. Cover and cook 5 minutes longer or until rice is tender, shrimp are cooked and sauce has practically cooked away.

While rice is cooking, season halibut with salt, pepper and paprika. Drizzle with oil and place in a baking dish, skin-side down, roast for 10 to 12 minutes or until white juices appear and fish is cooked through.

Stir parsley into paella and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve halibut with paella.

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There is no rice in this risotto. The conceit is that the squid is cut to look like risotto rice. To do this, cut squid in strips then cut across the strips. I had a version of this dish at Pollen Street Social, the hottest new restaurant in London. The chef, Jason Atherton, comes from Gordon Ramsey's Maze and he has brought all his talent with him. Using a mandolin is the easiest way to shave the cauliflower. If cutting the squid into little pieces takes too much time, cut in strips or rings and cook the same way (but call it pasta not risotto).


Servings: 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Ready In: 1 hour 5 minues


1 pound (500 grams) squid

½ cup water

1 cup low sodium fish or chicken stock

1 shallot, peeled and halved

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 whole dried red chili

¼ cup unsalted butter

½ teaspoon lemon rind, grated

2 tablespoons chives, chopped

4 cups cauliflower, shaved

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Cut squid into 3-inch 8-cm strips then dice strips. Bring water, stock, shallot, garlic and chili to boil. Add squid and simmer covered for 15 to 25 minutes or until tender.

Drain squid and return liquid to pot. Boil over high heat for 10 minutes or until reduced to about ½ cup and thickened slightly. Discard shallot, garlic, chili and stir in 2 tablespoons butter. Return squid and add grated lemon rind and chives.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in sauté pan over medium high heat and sauté cauliflower for 3 minutes or until lightly golden and tender-crisp. Toss with squid and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide among serving dishes.

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This pure white cold soup is rich but not calorie-laden. It would look beautiful topped with caviar. To keep it affordable, I have used smoked salmon instead.



Servings: 4 to 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ready In: 3 hours including chilling time


1 tablespoon butter

2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green part only

4 cups chicken stock

4 cups cauliflower florets, cut into 1-inch pieces

¼ cup whipping cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon lemon juice


¼ cup smoked salmon, chopped

2 tablespoons chives, chopped


Heat butter in a pot over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until limp, about 3 minutes. Add stock and bring to boil. Add cauliflower and simmer for 10 minutes or until the florets are soft.

Purée soup with a food processor or blender until very smooth (if the soup is too thick, add a little extra stock). Add cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice. Chill.

Top with smoked salmon and chives before serving.

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Braising halibut gives it a softer texture than roasting, allowing it to absorb more of the tangy tomato flavour.



Servings: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 40 minutes


Four 6- to 8-ounce (175- to 250-gram) halibut fillets

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ cups onions, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

½ cup dry white wine

3 tomatoes, chopped (about 3 cups)

¼ teaspoon dried chili flakes

¼ cup basil leaves, slivered

½ cup chicken stock or water, if needed


Season halibut with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet large enough to hold fillets in a single layer over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Stir in wine, bring to boil and boil for 1 to 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Add tomatoes, chili flakes and basil and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, adding stock or water if the sauce starts to dry out. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nestle fish into simmering sauce. Cover skillet and braise for 12 to 14 minutes or until opaque. Spoon sauce onto 4 serving plates. Top with halibut and serve scattered with Snow Pea Greens (see recipe below).



Tasty snow pea greens are the vines on which the peas grow. They are leafy with tender stalks. Look for leaves that have few tendrils, as they are younger. If they do have tendrils, cut them off (they resist cooking). The greens shrink, so start with lots.


Servings: 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 3 minutes

Ready In: 8 minutes


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 banana peppers, seeded and sliced

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

About 12 cups snow pea greens

½ cup water

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until garlic turns golden. Add snow pea greens and use tongs to toss them in pan for 30 seconds or until they start to wilt. Add water and let boil for 2 minutes or until evaporated. Greens will wilt a lot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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I had this sandwich at Enoteca Sociale, an Italian wine bar in Toronto's buzzy Dundas West area, and fell in love. Developed by Chef Rocco Agostino it highlights great quality bread, cheese and anchovies. Mr. Agostino makes his own anchovies but I used jarred ones.


16 1/2-inch thick round slices baguette

1 4-ounce (125-gram) ball buffalo mozzarella, cut into 8 slices

8 anchovy fillets, with oil

olive oil for frying

¼ cup Italian parsley leaves

1 recipe Pickled Shallots (recipe below)


Place mozzarella and anchovies between bread slices, brushing the inside of one slide with a little anchovy oil.

Heat about 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches and adding more oil to pan if needed, fry sandwiches for 2 minutes a side, pressing down with a spatula to compress slightly, or until bread is golden and cheese is beginning to melt. Garnish with parsley and serve with pickled shallots. Servings: 8 mini-sandwiches



1/2 cup water

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup carrot, thinly sliced

1 cup shallots, thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients except shallots in a small pot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Pour pickling liquid over sliced shallots and cool. Makes about 1 cup

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Thinly sliced vegetables combined with ham or smoked salmon make a fabulous main course presented on a plate just like a beef carpaccio. Add a great bread and some artisan butter or excellent extra virgin olive oil and the meal is complete. If you can find them, long French radishes are superb in this.


Prep Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 25 minutes


Basil Dressing:

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup basil leaves

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Salad Plate:

2 yellow summer squash

1 green zucchini

1 bunch radishes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups heirloom tomatoes, diced

1 avocado, diced

8 ounces (125 grams) goat or sheep milk cheese

4 handfuls arugula

Maldon salt to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

8 ounces (250 grams) Spanish ham, prosciutto or smoked salmon


Combine lemon juice, olive oil, basil and Parmesan cheese in a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

Slice summer squash, zucchini and radishes into very thin round slices using a sharp knife or mandolin. Array slices in a circular pattern on four individual serving plates leaving the centre empty. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle tomatoes, avocado and goat cheese over vegetables, and top with 1 handful of arugula each, leaving centre empty. Sprinkle with Maldon, more pepper and reserved Basil Dressing.

Roll up ham or salmon and place in the centre of each plate. Serve with bread and olive oil or butter. Serves 4

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